Saturday, September 17, 2016

What a year!

I belong to an RVing Facebook group, with many "full-timers" like us. About a week ago I put out this post:

Jan, (2016) -- We bought our 40 ft. motorhome, with plans to travel.
Feb -- Sold our house in one weekend. (Yikes! We're really doing this!)
Mar -- I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Put stuff in storage, moved out of home, into motorhome.  Travel plans put on hold.
Apr -- Double mastectomy. Cancer gone.(Yay!) Recovery.
May-June -- Reconstruction process (post-surgery) with brief RV trips interspersed. New grand baby! (#8 She's adorable)
July, Aug -- Four week trip, plus several short trips. Purchased several acres in central Oregon for future home. (We've always lived in western Oregon.) Update: Property sale fell through. Learned that 5 min after posting this. 
Sept -- Youngest son's wedding.(Happy Happy! All kids married now.) Final surgery to finish reconstruction.
Oct- Nov -- Planning to hit the road!
WHAT A YEAR. A year ago, we saw NONE of this coming!

You can also splice into the timeline, in April, the conclusion of a four-year church mission, which we DID see coming.  

It's been long enough now that the post finally sank out of sight into Facebook oblivion but all told, it garnered 149 comments, 556 "likes", and it kept my notifications hopping for days.  All of the comments were encouraging, cheering me on, and acknowledging how life does indeed, throw stuff at you.  But MANY of the comments pushed me right up onto a pedestal, with titles like hero, champ, warrior, and the like.   I tried a couple of times to ratchet it down.  It was, as I protested, a great year!  I wouldn't change any of it. 

Some shared their own cancer stories and my heart went out to them.  These brave women went through the ravages of chemo, radiation, and a genuine fear for their lives.  One lost most of her immediate family to cancer and another went through a divorce during her treatments.  And they so sweetly, so generously, counted me among them.  For which I deeply appreciate the honor, but honestly do not deserve.  

The reason for this reflection is that, if you notice on the timeline, in September, it says -- final surgery.  Well that surgery is now two days past.  I'm back in recovery mode, bandaged tightly, and staying well out of sight.  This is it.  Done.  And although cancer started it all with the double mastectomy, that same cancer vacated entirely last April.  This is just the last stage of the reconstruction or, in other words, my "boob job" ..... with apologies to my kids, especially my boys, who want as few details as possible.  (They prefer to know that I'm okay and leave it at that.)

This is my fourth surgery in about three years.  The first two were bunion repairs in my feet.  I always thought I lived an uneventful life where my health is concerned, but I guess not so much ....  To sum up my experience with surgery ..... for the first foot surgery, we filled the prescription for pain killers.  I'm still using up that first bottle.  I received new prescriptions for each surgery, but never bothered filling them.  When asked at the hospital how I tolerate pain, I said I don't know.  Who do I compare it with?  I guess I tolerate it pretty well, but I don't know ..... I mean, I just hardly ever hurt.  (And yes, I thank my lucky stars for that!)  The down side is that those pain killers are nice.  So relaxing.  I sleep like a baby while on them.  BUT, darn it(!), I can't justify them after a couple of days.   So either it's me .... or my doctors have seriously awesome skills.  

Am I a warrior?  As I said, my cancer is gone.  It's history.  Never to return again because you cannot get breast cancer if you no longer have the tissue to accomodate it.  I never had to take in toxic chemicals nor be nuked.  No followup meds for the next three to five years.   Yes, I lost the "girls" in the process, but they weren't that great to begin with.  Definitely not in the Marilyn Monroe category.  And the new versions ..... well, it seems a lot of women pay good money for these, although I'm not sure why.   But I basically got them for free since the surgery last spring used up my annual deductible.  So, you see, I don't feel like much of a warrior.  This has not been bad ... at all.  There were a few moments I'd happily not repeat, but still ..... no complaints.  

Just gratitude.  

Monday, September 5, 2016

Not just another day

How do I describe one of the most tender, sweet, joyful moments of my 61 years in this mortal experience?  One that rocketed my heart into space, bouncing it off the moon and soaring through the galaxy.

I have four fabulous children who have each taught me that God is real, because in them, I see His workmanship.  Three have been married for various lengths of time to their heaven-sent spouses.  But God's choice for Tyler, our youngest, had remained unknown and unfound for what felt like a long time.   T'wasn't that long really ..... it just seemed so to us.   Every parent wants their child to have it all and we want them to have it now.  And by "all" ... I mean happiness.

And happiness ..... finally arrived.  Her name is Allyson.

The world outside thought it was just another day.  Cars sped by on the freeway carrying people living their lives.  Businesses, stores, restaurants nearby, all doing their thing.  But inside that magnificent building called the temple, whose spires rise above the trees and point to heaven .....  two families gathered in a quiet room to witness the creation of a new family.  We watched the joining of two precious souls as they made eternal, sacred, marital covenants to each other and to God.  We rejoiced and we cried.  We felt the nearness of family passed on, rejoicing with us.  Angels sang.  Heavenly Parents smiled.  I cannot adequately express my feelings as I watched my beloved fourth and last child follow the steps of his two older brothers and his sister, receiving the happiness for which we had prayed for years ...... there are no words.

Only that ... my joy is complete.   I have seen heaven.

Photo by Lindsay